Okoh decries prolonged insecurity in the country, as church elects a new primate
With the theme, “Fight the good fight of faith,” the Primate of the church, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh in his opening address charged Christians to uphold the Christian faith and desist from anti-Christian practices such as favouritism, tribalism, and nepotism. He urged them to fight the good fight of faith, which according to him, is, “first and largely spiritual, and the enemies are Satan and the forces of darkness, not our fellow human beings, though human beings can be used as instruments in the hand of Satan and his cohorts.”
The climax of the four-day event was the election and announcement of the new Primate of the Church and two other Archbishops, as well as the consecration of six new Bishops. The new primate is Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Jos and Diocesan Bishop of Gombe, Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba. While the two new Archbishops elected to occupy two vacant positions in the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Ondo and Aba were Rt. Rev. Dr. Christopher Omotunde, Bishop of the Diocese of Ekiti for the Ecclesiastical Province of Ondo and Rt. Rev. Isaac Nwaobia, Bishop of the Diocese of Isialangwa-South for the Ecclesiastical Province of Aba.
The six new bishops who were consecrated include Bishops Ndubuisi Obi for Nnewi Diocese; Seyi Pirisola for Diocese on the coast; Olugbenga Babatunji for Osun Diocese; Joshua Foluso Taiwo for Oke-Osun Diocese; Benjamin Chinedum Okeke for Orlu Diocese and Geoffrey Ibeabuchi for Umuahia Diocese. The Bishop of Awka Diocese, now Most Rev. Alex Ibezim was also presented as the new Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province on the Niger.
According to the Dean of the Church, Most Rev. Buba Lamido, who made the announcement, the current Primate, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh has served for almost 10 years and on March 25, 2020, he would have completed his 10 years tenure as the Primate.
While expressing gratitude to God that the election was successful and peaceful, Lamido said: “The election was successful and peaceful; though not without challenges as with any elections. But glory is to God, the Church came together and unanimously elected a successor.”
The Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bendel and Bishop of Esan Diocese, Most Rev. Friday Imaekhai, who noted that the global environment was very hostile to Christianity, said the hostility had led to the persecution of adherents to the Christian faith. He, however, debunked the perception that Christianity is a passive religion that advocates waiting for God to act. He implored believers to have an active faith, obey God with courage and do what is right.
The cleric challenged Christians to defend the gospel against errors, correct false and heretical teachings and guard the faith of the fathers once delivered to the Saints.
The Bishop of Asaba Diocese and host of this year’s Standing Committee Meeting, Rt. Rev. Justus Mogekwu, in his welcome address, described the theme, “Fight the Good Fight of Faith,” as most apt and relevant, especially today’s circumstances. He said with the ever-increasing natural disasters, bloodshed and man’s inhumanity to man, Jesus Christ is the only hope for man’s survival.
The Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa who was also present observed that many Christians are good at utilising their faith for personal needs, but are found wanting when it comes to exercising their faith for the nation, Nigeria. He noted that the words of a Christian is powerful and therefore believers should stop speaking negatively about the nation because it invalidates their prayers. The governor urged Christians to speak peace and prosperity over Nigeria; explaining that it will be well with Nigeria if Christians continue to exercise their faith and stand in the gap for Nigeria.
The Bishop of Kabba Diocese, Rt. Rev. Stephen Akobe, who anchored the Bible study session, debunked the misconception that Christianity is “bread and butter” and that life becomes easy once one accepts Christ. Explaining that Christian faith is a life of conflict and struggle, Akobe said: “Faith must not be built on lies, but on the word of God; because when one’s faith is built on a mirage, it will collapse.”
The Standing Committee Meeting is a gathering where the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) takes decisions on important issues concerning the body. It is usually attended by the House of Bishops and representatives from the House of Clergy and Laity.